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I just created an oyster mushroom chowder with a cashew-cream base for my vegetarian wife who can't do dairy.

It turned out OK, but I overdid the celery and it tested strongly like cream of celery soup. Is there any way to cut back the flavor after it's finished besides adding more cream and veggie broth, which would throw off all the rest of the flavors which I nailed?

  • Just to be sure I understand you - your goal is to suppress the celery flavor, without affecting any of the other flavors in the soup? – logophobe Sep 25 '14 at 14:48
  • Yup, that's correct. – Crisfole Sep 25 '14 at 15:07
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I'm going to step out on a limb here and declare that you'll need to add more of the other ingredients. Even then, you're likely to throw off the overall balance of flavors because they have not all cooked together.

Here's a study abstract that suggests there are about 6 compounds that primarily contribute to the flavor and aroma of celery. However, as a home cook, I have no idea what any of these are or how to suppress them specifically. It may be possible to do so, but that solution is likely to be impractical for the home chef.

Another problem is that celery has a very flavor-enhancing effect; this is why it shows up so often in traditional vegetable bases like mirepoix and trinity. Here's another nifty article summarizing a paper that identified the specific compounds responsible for this; the odd thing is that these "phthalides" are largely tasteless. In short: the balance and overall tastiness of your soup might have been reached specifically by adding so much celery.

I think you're going to have to chalk this one up as a learning experience and adjust your recipe next time. One thing you could try (if you're not already, which would surprise me a little) is sweating the celery. I find that this makes the flavor overall a bit milder, with less of the vegetal-bitter flavors while still getting the umami-enhancing effect.

  • Alright. It wasn't a bad learning experience. The soup was delicious, just not what I was imagining, and now I have leftovers that are a perfect base for any recipe I find that requests cream of ____ soup. I usually skip those recipes since my wife can't have them... – Crisfole Sep 25 '14 at 15:46

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